Macy’s has been around since 1885, but it wasn’t until 1924 the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was held in New York City. The 2011 parade will be the 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. The reason it is the 85th parade instead of the 87th is because during World War II the helium and rubber were needed for the war effort. It is the second oldest Thanksgiving Day parade along with the American Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. This year the parade will be filled with traditional floats, new floats, performers, celebrities, and amazing craftsmanship.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thursday morning, November 24 while turkeys begin cooking, there will be an estimated 50 million people watching the Macy’s Day Parade that will begin at 9am in all time zones. It will start out on Central Park West and end at Macy’s Herald Square. Along the route are six viewing areas. In 1948 was the first year it was televised so that more people could view the parade. In 1960 the parade was televised in color the first time. 2011 is the first year of the Macy’s Great American Elf Adventure.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloons and Floats
The first parades had real animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo, but when Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company produced large animal shaped balloons in 1927, the animals got to sit out the parade. Felix the Cat made his debut that year. Some of the earliest balloons were Mickey Mouse, Super Man, Bullwinkle, Donald Duck, and Popeye. If you can get to the American Museum of Natural History (between 77th St. and 81st St.) on the Wednesday before the parade, you can watch 25 balloons inflated between 3-10 pm.
The floats are always amazingly crafted and some with stages for performances. Tom Turkey, Marvel Comics, Barney, Barbie, and Smurfs were featured on some of the first floats. The parade includes faloons (float and balloon) and ballonicles (balloons and vehicles). The one float everyone looks forward to seeing each year is the last one that brings Santa Clause. Floats to expect in 2011:
· The ZhuZhu Pets float
· NHL float
· Statue of Liberty’s hand
· Julius the monkey
· Sonic the Hedgehog
· The Gazer balloon
The Macy’s Parade Route
To get a good spot to view the parade, it is recommended that you arrive about 6:30am wearing warm clothes and bring warm drinks and maybe a few snacks. The 2011 parade will be the last parade along the route that starts at 77th Street and goes down Central Park West to Columbus Street Circle. Then going along Central Park South and down 7th Avenue. Then going along 42nd Street and down 6th Avenue to 34th Street ending at Macy’s Herald Square.
Celebrities and the Macy’s Parade
Many celebrities have had the privilege of being part of the Macy’s Day Parade. Dick Roman and Marc Copage were among the first featured performers. The Rockettes have been performing at every parade since 1957. The first Broadway performers to be part of the parade were the cast from The Tap Dance Kid.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and pumpkin pie.